Oldham Coliseum Theatre announces Secret Summer

OLDHAM Coliseum Theatre announces Secret Summer – a free, immersive audio adventure for the whole family. The events take place in Oldham’s Alexandra Park and Shaw’s Dunwood Park on August bank holiday weekend.

Oldham Coliseum Theatre and Stand & Be Counted Theatre today announce SBC’s Secret Summer – an immersive audio adventure for the whole family – taking place in Oldham’s Alexandra Park on Saturday 26 August and Shaw’s Dunwood Park on Sunday 27 August.

The adventures will run every half an hour each day from 12-3pm and are free to attend.

Oldham Coliseum Theatre, together with Oldham-based Stand and Be Counted, will turn two parks into immersive adventure trails, with a project originally co-created with children seeking sanctuary (refugees, asylum seekers and new migrants).

In Secret Summer, families will join Squirrel, Butterflies, Unicorn and The Beetles for an exciting roam through Alexandra Park and Dunwood Park, in an original story created by Syrian writer, Anan Tello.

Using the geolocated sound app Echoes, downloadable from Apple Store or Google Play, families will be guided around the park by binaural narration, encountering real-life surprises along the way, to uncover the secrets of the park.

Booking is not required, and the event and app are completely free. Secret Summer is available in English and Arabic. After enjoying Secret Summer, there’s the opportunity for a special selfie with the Secret Summer selfie frames. The Secret Summer activity pack will be available for families to download and enjoy anytime they visit either park.

The announcement follows the news that Oldham Council was successful in its proposal to ACE to secure funding to deliver a cultural programme across the borough between now and the opening of the planned new building in 2026. Oldham Coliseum Theatre will receive £450,000 from this funding to specifically produce, commission, create, deliver, and develop a new business model.

Duncan Craig, Chair of Oldham Coliseum Theatre said:

“Building on Chris Lawson’s legacy, our previous CEO/Artistic Director, this is the first step in a new chapter for the Coliseum. As I have previously said, we are fully committed to working with a whole load of partners in Oldham and beyond to deliver high quality theatrical experiences for local audiences in Oldham and inviting theatre goers from across Greater Manchester to join us, as we start reimagining our organisation from the ground up. I genuinely can’t wait to experience Secret Summer with communities in Oldham and I will be there in the park as a volunteer with others, so please come say hi, it’s going to be great!”

Rosie Macpherson, SBC’s Artistic Director and Joint CEO said:

“We’re really excited to bring the Secret Summer adventure to Oldham. We are incredibly proud of this project, which we co-created with your Youth Theatre of Sanctuary – young people from around the world between 3-15 who now call the UK their home. They’re talent, innovation and creativity is incredibly inspiring, and we can’t wait to see what audiences at Alexandra and Dunwood parks think of it. Bring your adventurous side!”

Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council said:

“It’s exciting to see Oldham Coliseum Theatre working with Oldham-based Stand and Be Counted to bring fun for families to enjoy over the Bank Holiday Weekend. 

“The funding Oldham Coliseum Theatre received is part of the £1.8m funding Oldham Council secured from Arts Council England, and we’re so pleased to see it put to good use. 

“The Arts are part of our heritage in Oldham and we want to see more arts and cultural events and activities across the borough, not just this year but for the next three years. The funding will deliver just that, while the work to build the new theatre is well underway.

 “I’m also delighted that our parks take centre stage for these events – we have more than 30 in the borough, and I encourage everyone to visit their local parks and green spaces.”

Secret Summer is kindly supported by Oldham Council and Arts Council England. It was commissioned by The Space and Theatre in the Mill, with funding from Arts Council England and supported by The Montgomery Theatre.

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